(HealthDay News) – The prevalence of acute otitis media (AOM) is 46% by age 12 months, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Tasnee Chonmaitree, MD, from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues examined the prevalence of viral upper respiratory tract infection (URI) and its complications, including AOM, and lower respiratory tract infection (LRI). A total of 367 healthy infants were enrolled from near birth and followed for 286 child-years.

The researchers identified 887 URI (305 infants) and 180 AOM (143 infants) episodes. In the first year, the prevalence of URI, LRI, and AOM was 3.2, 0.25, and 0.67 per child-year, respectively. By ages 3, 6, and 12 months, cumulative AOM incidence was 6%, 23%, and 46%, respectively. Infants with AOM had 4.7 URI episodes per child-year, while those without AOM had 2.3 episodes (P<0.002). Infants with AOM had significantly higher rates of pathogenic bacterial colonization by month (P<0.005). The risks of URI and AOM were reduced with breastfeeding (P<0.05). There were significant bacterial-viral interactions with Moraxella catarrhalis and a variety of respiratory viruses and alterations in the risks of URI and AOM.

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“Almost half of infants experienced AOM by age 1,” the authors write. “Important AOM risk factors included frequent viral URI, pathogenic bacterial colonization, and lack of breastfeeding.”


  1. Chonmaitree T, Trujillo R, Jennings K, et al. Acute Otits Media and Other Complications of Viral Respiratory Infection. Pediatrics. 2016; doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-3555.